Of Boys and Beasts, by Mona Black is a freebie on Amazon. I then chose to purchase a copy of Of Beasts and Demons in order to continue the series. This second book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight earlier in the year.
About the book:
One’s a werewolf with an ax to grind
Two’s a vampire with a heart of coal
Three’s a demon with a taste for pain
Four’s a fae with a past of woe
Five’s a girl who will take them down all
In revenge for the pain they’ve sown
So what if they’re gorgeous? They must atone…
My name is Mia Solace. You know, the girl who will take them down all? That’s me.
When my cousin is returned to us by Pandemonium Academy in a glass coffin, in an enchanted sleep she isn’t expected to wake up from, I grab her diary and head to the academy myself.
Because her diary, you see, tells of four cruel boys who bullied her and broke her heart until she sought oblivion through a spell.
Four magical boys, because that’s the world we live in now, heirs of powerful families attending this elite academy where the privileged scions of the human and magical races are brought together in the noble pursuit of education.
As for me, I cheat to get on the student roster, and once I’m in, well… it’s war, baby. I’ll get those four sons of guns, steal their secrets, make them hurt. I’ll transform into an avenging angel for my cousin, for all the girls they’ve wronged, and I bet there are plenty of those.
While growing up, my cousin was my only friend. Now I’ll be her champion.
Only these boys aren’t exactly as I pictured them. Devastatingly handsome, deliciously brooding, strangely haunted, they’re getting under my skin and through my defenses.
Kissing them surely wasn’t part of my plan…
Getting into bed with them even less.
I was invested enough to want to read book two and see where the series goes. So, I can’t claim to have entirely disliked it. But I think I was also invested in the story in the same way one is a train wreck. It’s a mess, but I couldn’t seem to look away. Also, the book doesn’t conclude. I won’t call it a cliffhanger. It’s just another book that doesn’t end. I cannot tell you how much I resent this trend. But I decided to give the second a chance to redeem itself. You’ll notice I stopped at two.
I think that the author doesn’t quite pull off what she’s aiming for. The boys, who are supposed to be dark, brooding bullies come across as broken children. It’s awful hard to find boys sexy, as we’re intended to. I’ll grant that the title is Of Boys and Beasts, but I have to admit to assuming that was just alliterative. Guess not.
Plus, the book is really bad about almost all non-main character girls being disposable sexual commodities. This isn’t uncommon in romance books, but the older I get the less patient I get with this authorial habit. In fact it kind of makes me rage. Can’t we do better by and for ourselves as women and female authors?
The premise is patently ridiculous. It’s fun in the beginning to see Mia’s blind determination. I honestly started to wonder if she wasn’t on the autism spectrum at one point, because of the way she plows through so many social cues. I honestly think that would have been more interesting that what we were eventually given. Because the fact that Mia stays so on course starts to stretch the bounds of credulity.
Lastly, the book feels a little to Young Adult, which be fine if it didn’t also feel so much like it is aiming for New Adult instead. Certainly the subject matter and sexual content is more NA than YA. So, there’s a disconnect.
But, as I said, I did buy book two. So, I can’t pretend nothing intrigued me.
About the Book:
Everyone now thinks I am a witch – a member of the Apollinari House. They couldn’t be more wrong since I was adopted when I was little, but they don’t know that and I won’t squander this advantage by telling them.
The boys have decided that they need a witch to help them fight the magical surges, and what better way to slip through their defenses and find out their dirty secrets?
Find them, expose them and get my revenge on behalf of my cousin who is lying in a deadly enchanted sleep back home. It shouldn’t be that hard. The boys, after all, seem interested in getting to know me better.
But that’s because I am a witch, someone they need. Which suits me just fine. Who cares why, right?
It shouldn’t hurt. I shouldn’t want them to want me for who I really am, to feel anything for me. That’s nonsense. I’m not here to court them; I’m here to hurt them.
So why is it so hard to go through with my plan?
After all, since when do I care for them?
So, we have some serious magical Vajayjay going on here. And honestly it just took over too much of the plot. There was nothing new or interesting in it. The same exact thing happened with each boy, such that it just felt redundant and predictable. There was nothing left to keep me interested in that department.
What’s worse, the author’s continued insistence on having the character both playing the virginal ingénue and the whore, while also insisting to herself she was still out to hurt these boys while simultaneously being nothing but kind and falling for them stopped working looooong before the author gave it up. I realize she meant the character to be conflicted. But it just felt contradictory and like an artifice.
I won’t say I was wholly uninterested. I’d like to read on to see what comes of the boy’s (and I do mean boys, despite the sex they all seem super immature) tragic backstories and the four of them coming together (which I found far more interesting than their obsession with Mia). But honestly, I’m not interested enough to buy the next book. If it popped up as an Amazon freebie or at the library, sure. But I don’t think I’d put more money into the series.